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Environment / Sustainability

CSU is 17th in RecycleMania

March 5, 2012

CSU is currently in 17th place among the 600 universities competing in RecycleMania, a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs around the country to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.

2012 Trash AuditTrash Audit numbers have improved

CSU hosted its annual Trash Audit last week. The Trash Audit is conducted during RecycleMania to help promote the competition and educate the campus community.

The trash audit began in 2009 and CSU’s recycling numbers have been improving every year. In 2009, 40 percent of the materials in the trash audit could have been recycled. In 2011, the figure was 28 percent. This year the number was down to 26 percent -  in just a few short years CSU has reduced the amount of items in the trash stream that could have been recycled by 14 percent. That dramatic reduction is thought to be due in part to the popularity of RecycleMania on the CSU campus.

Student volunteers sort through trash at CSU's annual Trash AuditHelp CSU break into the top 10!

CSU has been a participant in this competition since 2004 and continues to be a leading contender, currently placing 17th among this year’s 605 participating colleges and universities. Since the first year of the competition, CSU has finished in the top 5 percent, even as the competition has grown from just 17 schools to more than 600.

With each week's reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

"The first year Colorado State participated in RecyleMania (2005), CSU competed against 17 schools and our recycling rate was 31.64 percent," said Sheela Backen, Facilities Management program manager.

In 2011, CSU placed 21st among more than 600 colleges and universities participating in RecycleMania. As a campus, CSU's recycling rate was more than 53 percent.

Campus competition

During the national competition, CSU also hosts a recycling competition on campus among its residence halls and apartments. Follow the competition on the Sustainability in Facilities Management website.

The winning residence hall and apartments win the coveted RecycleMania trophy as well as funds to further green efforts in their community. In 2011, The Live Green Team recognized Lory Student Apartments win with a recycling rate of 59 percent. This year, the winners will be recognized at the Student Sustainability Fair and Earth Day Celebration on April 18 on the plaza.

We've come a long way, baby

CSU has come a long way since that first competition. Before 1990, CSU land filled nearly all of its trash. In 1990, Facilities Management began a pilot recycling project with a grant from the Colorado Office of Energy Conservation. In 1995, the number of dumpsters was reduced by half, curbside collection of trash began, the first automated recycle truck was purchased, and larger recycle containers were distributed throughout campus. In 2007, recycling collection changed from multi-stream to single-stream collection. With all of these recycling improvements, CSU's recycling rate climbed dramatically.